Interview With Taylor Bennet, Author of Porch Swing Girl

Friday, May 25, 2018

Guys. YA author Taylor Bennet's novel Porch Swing Girl is finally here! =D I've been staring at it longingly on my Goodreads shelf for too long, and now and I finally have it! AND OH MY WORD IT IS SO GOOD. Seriously, if you don't have a copy of Porch Swing Girl, go grab one. Now. I mean, it's Hawaii. And shave ice. Who could say no?! And LOOK AT THAT COVER. Just look at it. 
Luckily, I got to interview the author of this amazing story. Taylor is not only a great writer, but she's also a super great person. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and her writing through this interview. =) 
When and why did you start writing?
I honestly don’t have a good answer for this, because I’ve literally been writing since before I could write (if that makes any sense at all!) My earliest memory of “writing” would be from when I was around four years old. I got the grand idea to write my mom a book for her birthday but, because I didn’t know how to spell, let alone type, I asked my dad to help out. In the end, I dictated a rambling narrative while Dad sat at the computer and typed it up, word-for-word. Another early writerly memory is of sitting at my mom’s old electric typewriter and pecking out pages full of gibberish for hours at a time. So basically, I’ve been in love with words for my entire life. But I never got serious about publication until I was in middle school.
What is your upcoming novel, Porch Swing Girl, about? 
Porch Swing Girl is about a sassy, stubborn teenager named Olive Galloway (yes, she’s the Porch Swing Girl) who gets dumped at her grandmother’s house in Hawaii after the tragic death of her mother. Olive is desperate to chase her dad back home to keep him from doing anything drastic, but an empty pocketbook keeps her stranded. She starts working at the Shave Ice Shack with one of the local guys to raise the money needed for a ticket home, but she discovers that one of his friends is harboring a painful secret. And suddenly, Olive begins to question every decision she’s made since coming to Hawaii…
What is the hardest part about writing? The best part? 
The hardest part of writing, for me, is coming up with a strong plot. I’ve lived a “fairy-tale life” as I like to call it and, admittedly, I haven’t gone through a lot of hardship. Sometimes (all the time) I want to go easy on my characters and give them a life just as glorious and beautiful as mine. But, alas, happy days don’t make for compelling stories. Thankfully my editors (and my mom!) are more than happy to help me brainstorm.

The best part about writing is definitely having the freedom to “visit” new places and make new friends. I happen to have a chronically overactive imagination, and I was always the kid that wanted to play pretend and act out scenes from storybooks. Truth be told, I’d still do that if I could get away with it 😉 But then I discovered that I could—by writing! I can create characters, settings, and hop onto the pages to play the what if game as long as I want.
What message do you want readers to take away from your writing? 
I want readers to see God’s grace and goodness in everything. I want to show them that, even in the darkest night, God is still good. His love and grace cover over everything in our life. And we, as Christians, can be the light of the world. We can brighten the darkness and make life beautiful because of Him and what He’s done for us.
What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give to aspiring teen writers? 
Wait. Don’t feel like you need to get a publishing contract before you turn eighteen. That was my goal, actually, and it was a good one to have, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should strive for the same thing. The teen years are so full of change—of decision-making and pressure and just…life—that there’s no reason to rush your writing career. Take it slow. Write because you love it and see where that takes you.
About The Author
Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads. Buy her novel Porch Swing Girl here


Isn't Taylor the greatest? =) Have you read Porch Swing Girl yet?  Have you ever been to Hawaii or eaten shave ice? Be sure to leave Taylor a comment! =) 

DARKNESS

Friday, May 18, 2018

I’m finished with my hiatus sooner than I thought I would be, so I’ll be posting regularly again. 
When I was little, I was afraid of the dark. I wouldn’t admit it though. I was afraid of being alone at night, of crawling out from under my cozy covers to the cold, scary world that laid beyond my bed. Darkness held a world of too many bad possibilities, in my mind.

I’m sixteen years old, and I’m afraid of the dark. But the darkness I’m afraid of isn’t a lack of light at nighttime. No, I’m afraid of the darkness that seems to envelope our world. All I have to do is check the News app on my phone to terrify myself. All I have to do is remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ to make my blood run cold. All I have to do is think about school shootings, unloved people, unborn babies being murdered by the thousands, soldiers dying for our freedom, orphans all alone, kids in child prisons, peoples’ freedom being taken away….

My list could go on. I could talk about murder. I could talk about unheard cries and unseen tears. I could talk about pain and suffering and injustice and unfairness and darkness for far, far too long. And that hurts to have to write that. I hate that I can say that everywhere I look, there is darkness.

Darkness is everywhere. It runs rampant, like a plague. A disease that we human beings cannot cure. It affects everyone and everything on this earth. Darkness pulls us all down, down, down, like the London Bridge in that old nursery rhyme. We all fall down…

Our world is dark. Our world is fallen. Our world is sick and twisted. And there is nothing we can do about it.

But there is Someone who can.

He goes by many names, many titles. Prince of Peace. Christ. Lord. Healer. King of Kings. Rescuer. Savior. Messiah. Yeshua. Jesus.

Today, I clicked on the News app on my phone and saw the headline. A school shooting had occurred here in Texas. Ten dead. Ten hurt. Too many to suffer. To much pain. Too much broken. My heart is hurting right now as I think of the horrific events that I swipe through on my phone. And yet one verse rings through my mind over and over again.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

-John 16:33 ESV

“Take heart… Be brave. Be strong. Chin up. Courage, dear hearts.”

“I have overcome the world… I won. I saved. I defeated. I rescued. I healed. I’m here.”

We can’t fix our world, but He can. We can’t save ourselves, but He can save us. We can’t… But He most certainly can.

On this broken, dark, fallen ball of dirt, we will have troubles. Trials. Tribulations. Pain. Suffering. Hurt. Tears.

But take heart, my friends.

For when the night passes… Morning comes.

When darkness falls… Light shines.

And our Lord and Savior has overcome the world.


-Micaiah

Goodbye...

Friday, April 27, 2018

Goodbye...
...friends down the street.
...playground and basketball court across the street.
...babysitting sweet kiddos down the street and beyond.
...bedroom plastered in quotes and memories with my stuff lying everywhere.
...house, where so, so many memories were made.
...beaches that seem to have more rocks than sand, and yet still are some of my favorite places in the world.
...Tillamook ice cream and cheese.
...sunsets that never cease to take my breath away.
...Seattle, with its Space Needle, market where fish are thrown and the best Greek yogurt is served, and fountains that kids play in.
...hauling cartons of milk and bags of bagels delivered by the milkman into the house every Thursday.
...bike rides down gravel roads.
...Mt. Rainier peeking out of the ever-present clouds, snow still coating her even in the summer.
...forests that never cease to remind me of Narnia.
...sound of rain pittering and pattering outside my window nearly every day.
...cloudy days and cloudy nights.
...walking to the mailbox with high hopes of a letter or package.
...lakes, ferns, and mosses that make the world look magical.
...picking blackberries in the summertime and eating them like candy.
...coffee shops that serve the best cocoas and mochas.
...sunshiny days that everyone in the Pacific Northwest lives for, because when the sun is out, there is no more beautiful place in the world than here. 
...trips to the Oregon coast on weekends. 
...spot on the map that I've come to love, the place that I've come to call home
Goodbye, home.
I miss you. 


As I'm sure you can tell by this post, my family is moving from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We're heading to the Lone Star state! Although I already miss this place I've come to call home, I'm excited to see what God has in store for me in Texas! 
 Because of my move, I'll be taking a hiatus this May-minus one special post. ;) Don't worry, I'll be back in June! =) Until then... See you soon!

In 27 Days Book Review

Friday, April 20, 2018

The book is set during autumn/winter, hence the wintery background photo. It's the best I could do, okay? xD  
I gobbled up Alison Gervais's In 27 Days in only two days. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. For a person who doesn't read as much as I'd like, I sure picked a great book to read! Read on to see my review. =)
My Rating: Four and a Half Penguins out of Five 
Back Cover Blurb (Taken From Amazon)
The cover... Did I mention how pretty it is?!
Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him. Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer safe.

From award-winning Wattpad author Alison Gervais (HonorInTheRain) comes In 27 Days, a story of redemption, first love, and the strength it takes to change the future.
What I Loved...
Aaaaalllllll the cuteness. I think I was squealing for about 50% of the book. Just ask my poor sister. Yes, there are some pretty dark elements to In 27 Days, but that didn't stop Alison Gervais from adding so many cute moments. ESPECIALLY THE ONE WITH THE PENGUINS (if you've read In 27 Days, you know what I mean). I should probably stop before I spoil the book. xD 
Mama Rosa's Coffee Shop. First of all, there was sugar in the form of cinnamon rolls and Danishes and all sorts of baked goods. Second of all, there was hot chocolate. Third, a fireplace. If only Mama Rosa's was real.... It would be the greatest place EVER to write. And read. And do it again.  
The personification of Death and *spoilers*. Death's character really was done well. Death was interesting, and he had some depth to him that I didn't expect seeing. Basically, all of the characters were spot on! 
The way the author handled the topic of suicide. I appreciated that the author portrayed suicide in a negative light and showed that there is hope for those who feel suicidal, but I did wish that she dealt with it a little more than she did. I felt that it almost became a background issue. Maybe it's just me that feels this way though? 
Aaaaaaalllll the quotes. I have about a dozen or so quotes from this book that I may or may not have saved on my phone. See the one below to understand. 
I would go on with what I loved, such as the plot, but that would take waaaayyyyy too long! xD
What I Didn't Love...
There was a tiny bit of language. But only a tiny bit! I feel that when there was a bit of language it was unnecessary, but it didn't detract from my reading experience. Overall, this was a pretty clean read. 
Typos. Be warned that there are some noteiceable typos in the hardcover format, and I read in another review that it was the same way in the Kindle format. To be honest, they didn't bother me that much, but I felt that they should've been cleaned up. 
Overall...
In 27 Days was a great story with a great message and memorable characters and settings that had me hooked from the first chapter. Because of some more mature elements, I would recommend this book for readers ages 14 and up. 
About the Author (Taken From Blink's Website)
Watty Award winning author Alison Gervais is an undergraduate student at Colorado State University Pueblo, and has been writing for as long as she can remember. In 2011, she began posting her work on Wattpad.com, and has been active on the site for the past five years.

Have you read In 27 Days? If so, what was your favorite cute moment? If not, what about it sounds most interesting? 

5 Places To Find Inspiration For Your Writing-Guest Post At Audrey Caylin's Blog

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Guess who did a guest post? MMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE. =D Click here to head over to my friend Audrey Caylin's lovely blog, where you'll find me rambling about five places to find inspiration for your writing when you desperately need it. And while you're there, be sure to leave a comment and stick around! Audrey has an amazing blog, and she's one of the most inspiring bloggers out there. =) I hope to see you there!

CopyRight © Micaiah Saldaña | Header and Brand Designed By Eric Barr | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan